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St. Gerard House
Home of the Grotto School
January 2015

In This Issue
Contact Us
St. Gerard House
620 Oakland Street
Hendersonville, NC 28791
Book of the Month
Autism Life Skills by Chantal Sicile-Kira
In her book, Sicile-Kira offers advice as an advocate and a mother of a teen with autism. Autism Life Skills presents a positive and empowering "bill of rights" for every person with autism, regardless of impairment level. This book covers these ten essential life skills:
  • Making Sense of the World
  • Communication 
  • Safety
  • Self-Esteem
  • Pursuing Interests
  • Self-Regulation
  • Independence
  • Social Relationships 
  • Self- Advocacy
  • Earning a Living
Family Group Night
Monday: January 19, 2015; 5:30 - 7:30 pm

We'll serve a family meal (with GF/CF options) at 5:30pm, then at 6, we'll divide into break-out groups:
  • siblings (all ages)
  • child care (0-5 yo)  
  • children with special needs (6-11 yo)
  • youth with special needs (12-21 yo)
Family Group Night is open to all families experiencing special needs in Henderson and surrounding counties. Come share your stories, gather resources, and have fun! Please be on time so you don't miss out on anything!

This group meets on the 3rd Monday of every month at 5:30 at St. Gerard House, 620 Oakland St. Additional parking at Immaculata School at 711 Buncombe St.
Provided to the community free of charge by SGH and Family Support Network of WNC

One Thousand Blessings
Our challenge to recognize the blessings in our lives continues. Almost a year ago we challenged our team, parents and Board of Directors to write the blessings they have received. Our goal is to write 1,000 blessings as a group.

Here are this month's top ten blessings.
We are grateful for...
1. The birth of Jesus

2. Family Time

3. Homemade cookies

4. Good night sleep

5. Smell of Christmas trees

6. Good News

7. Fr. Namdev

8. Baby Colin Blackwell

9. Board games

10. Warmth and heat during the cold

Because of the variety of age groups we serve and the variety of programs we offer, St. Gerard House is a great place to volunteer for learning opportunities.
We are currently looking to have more support and help in the following areas:  planning fundraisers and teacher aides at our Grotto School.

We rely on over 800 hours of volunteer work every month!
If you or someone you know are interested in any of these opportunities, please call us at 828-693-4223 x 14  or send us an email:
Autism and the Gut [Autism File]
Lois' Closet is a new consignment boutique on Main Street, Hendersonville. Every 2nd Tuesday of the month, 10% of their profits will be donated to St. Gerard House! We are so grateful for this! 
Ability Shirts is a non-profit organization that believes no one has a (dis)ABILITY, everyone has abilities. They will donate 10% their sales to St. Gerard House. You can purchase their awareness products at Once Upon a Sign in downtown Hendersonville. Please visit us in store or online at For more information please contact Adam Farris at 828-290-7372
St. Gerard House News
Happy New Year to you! Our St. Gerard House team is excited to begin this new year and look forward to all the blessings and growth that are to come!

MARDI GRAS PARTY Join us on Fat Tuesday, February 17, 2015 from 6-9pm at the Wild Wing Cafe in Arden, NC for our Fifth Annual Mardi Gras Party! We will have delicious Cajun food, beer and wine tasting, great live music and a silent auction. Tickets are $25 ahead of time and $30 at the door. Click here to purchase your tickets online!

GROZEN! We celebrated a very Merry Christmas with our Grotto students, families, and staff. Our Grotto students performed a short play called "GROZEN". Thank you to our great team of behavior technicians who wrote the script, directed the play, and created the props & costumes. Click here to see more pictures of GROZEN.
Fr. Namdev: Our community was richly blessed for almost two years by Fr. Namdev's presence. He is a Catholic priest that was sent to Hendersonville from India to serve the parish of Immaculate Conception. However, SGH was also blessed by his service and generosity. Fr. Namdev would often visit our Grotto Center and play with our students. He would also stop by and greet our staff and always had encouraging words for our team. Fr. Namdev also participated in many of our activities and attended our fundraising events. He was recently called back to India, where he will teach at a seminary. We will miss you Fr. Namdev! Thank you for all that you did for SGH and our families! Check out the newspaper article about Fr. Namdev that was recently published.

Spotlight On: Brienne Shaneyfelt

Brienne Shaneyfelt is originally from Pennsylvania, but moved to the area when she was 10 years old. Brienne just graduated from UNCA this past December 2014, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and plans to continue her education to receive a nursing degree next fall.  We were incredibly blessed to have Brienne as an intern for a semester here at SGH!

Bertha: How did you become involved at SGH?  
Brienne: Rachael
Cushing and Jessica Blackwell were invited to speak to one of my UNCA classes, and I really loved the idea of using evidence based practices to help children with autism
learn more effectively. I had worked with the special education class at my high school, but never had any experience with ABA or similar programs. When it was time to decide where I would intern for my final semester of college, SGH seemed like the perfect choice.
Bertha: What is your motivation to help out at the Grotto/SGH?
Brienne: First and foremost, I really just love kids. Throughout my internship I have gotten to know all these sweet, wonderful children and it is so awesome to be a part of their learning and mastering new skills.
Bertha: What is your favorite part about volunteering at the Grotto/SGH?
Brienne: It’s really hard to pin that choice down, but I’d have to say working with the Connect program was my favorite part. It was so cool to see the kids making connections with each other, and watching this whole other world open up to them.
Bertha: How has your work at the Grotto influenced you?
Brienne: Working at the Grotto has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I had not before realized the value of being surrounded by people who love what they do, because I had never experienced it so fully until SGH. The staff is so genuine, welcoming and fun, and it makes such a wonderful environment for everyone involved.
"I truly feel that I have learned more from these kids than I could ever put into words. They have shown me how to recognize the joy in the little things, have gratitude even on the hardest days, the importance of “playtime” no matter your age, and the reward and pride when your hard work pays off."
Autism in the News
Connect Program
NOW ENROLLING... All age groups!
Our next session will begin February 17, 2015!
The Connect Program is open to children in elementary, middle and high school, who need a little bit of extra support in the social world.
Students do not need a diagnosis to enroll.
Classes meet once a week after school, and include a parent forum. Teachers use fun, hands-on activities, based on Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® Curriculum, to teach specific strategies for children to use in the classroom and at home.  
For more information on how to register click here or please contact our main office at 828-693-4223 or via e-mail us at
Each month we want to introduce you to some of the characters that are used in the Social Thinking® Curriculum.
Space Invader:
  • Will move into another person's space when they do not expect or want it.
  • Does not realize how uncomfortable it makes others feel
How to defeat Space Invader:
  • Use the one-arm rule to determine if you are too close to someone.
  • Look at other people's faces. How are they feeling about your closeness?
  • If you are making others uncomfortable, move your body away from them.
Feed the Need!
The Feed the Need Garden is an exciting program for young adults with Autism. Unlike other programs at St. Gerard House, Feed the Need is specifically geared toward young adults and teens in order to prepare them for the working world. Feed the Need focuses on vocational, social, and daily-living skills that are not usually taught in a typical classroom setting.

Feed the Need uses a seed-to-sale philosophy, which allows participants to be involved in every aspect of an agribusiness. If you are interested in learning more about this program call Harlan Chumley (828) 693-4223 x 15
Giving to SGH
Even a small contribution makes a big difference for us. Please consider a donation, a pledge, or an in-kind gift, to help us continue offering evidence based autism services in the community. And remember, we are a 501c3 non-profit, so all monetary and in-kind donations are tax-deductible! Click here to make a donation.  
Wish List
We have our wish list at Amazon, if you'd like to donate to SGH in-kind. It works just like a wedding registry - you can order items to be sent straight to us! Take a look and see what you may be able to help us with Click here to see it!
Your gift will help us provide scholarships for Grotto students and Connect participants who are on the waiting list for scholarship slots.
St. Gerard House • 620 Oakland St. • Hendersonville, NC 28791
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